On Tuesday, November 10th, SCS Engineers announced the promotion of Sandra Ripplinger to Director of Health & Safety. Sandy will oversee all industrial health and safety guidance and training for the SCS employee-owners in her expanded role, reporting to the Board of Directors and Chief Financial Officer Curtis Jang.
Ms. Ripplinger is a Board Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) and Safety Professional (CSP) with three decades of experience providing occupational and environmental health and safety services. She is currently also a Project Director with SCS’s Environmental Health Services Practice in Henderson, Nevada.
Her experience includes providing industrial hygiene expertise for industrial facility health and safety audits, process safety management audits, training, environmental evaluations preventing worker exposure. “Sandy has done a great job strengthening our clients’ safety programs and evaluating the risks to prevent accidents,” said Curtis Jang. “She is a strong leader, and I’m confident she will guide our employees with ever-smarter Industrial Health and Safety (IHS) protocols.”
“I am looking forward to working with our team of business unit directors and IHS professionals, continuing to make improvements that benefit our staff and clients,” Ripplinger said. “Safety and industrial safety are an important part of people’s lives, and SCS is committed to continuing delivery of our services in line with legal compliance, industry guidelines, and our clients’ business needs.”
On March 26, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) finalized amendments to the 2003 National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills. The NESHAP rules affect air permits and landfill gas system operating requirements for most active landfills. Read the Technical Bulletin here.
Some permittees welcome the revised wellhead operational standards, but other changes including additional monitoring requirements for wells operating at higher temperatures, and correction and clarification of Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction (SSM) requirements are creating confusion. Landfill owners have an 18-month phase-in period before full compliance with the NESHAP requirements, so now is the time to unravel the confusing language between NESHAP rules and existing New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) rules (Subpart WWW and Subpart XXX).
SCS Engineers and SWANA are presenting a series of webinars and resources to help landfill owners and operators untangle the confusing permit phraseologies and implications created when state agencies with air permitting authority incorporate the NESHAP requirements into Title V operating permit renewals and construction permits.
Tune in for advice on Wednesday, June 24, 3:40 PM – 4:15 PM:
SWANAPalooza 2020 Virtual Conference — Navigating the Maze of Federal Air Quality Regulations for Landfills with Pat Sullivan. Pat and other presenters will discuss the EPA’s landfill regulations, including NSPS, NESHAP, and Emission Guidelines.
Tune in earlier for other key presentations including:
On-Demand Webinar at A&WMA Virtual Conference
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created confusion with its most recent versions of the MSW landfill New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and Emission Guidelines (EG) [40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 60, Subparts XXX and Cf], which were promulgated in August 2016. The NSPS XXX and EG Cf rules do not give clear on and off-ramps from the old NSPS Subpart WWW and EG Subpart Cc rules and have various inconsistent and overlapping requirements. EPA made matters worse by not updating the MSW landfill National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs), 40 CFR Part 63 Subpart AAAA rule at the same time. This created a situation where both the old and new rules could apply simultaneously, even though the new rules were supposed to replace the old rules (with conflicting requirements).
This and other issues forced the industry to petition EPA for relief, and the industry obtained a temporary stay and then a commitment to reconsider the rules. Concurrently, EPA informally agreed not to push forward with approving state plans for the EG under Cf, which gave the industry hope that EPA could fix the rules before most landfills became subject to the new rules via approved state plans. However, some states sued EPA over this delay, and EPA lost. As such, EPA was forced by the courts to begin approving the state plans as well as issue a federal plan for the EG (Subpart OOO), for which a draft rule was published in August 2019 and a final rule is pending.
Also, before they planned to reconsider Subparts XXX/Cf, EPA decided to update the NESHAP rule, including a risk and technology review (RTR). While doing this, EPA also tried to resolve some of the Subpart XXX/Cf issues using the NESHAPs rule as well as add some new requirements not included in the NSPS XXX and EG Cf rules. However, the draft NESHAPs rule demonstrated that EPA had only created more confusion and uncertainty.
The solid waste industry commented on the Subpart AAAA rule and is waiting for EPA to issue it. EPA says the reconsideration of XXX/Cf will not be considered until 2021 or 2022.
Currently, landfill owners and operators remain in a state of limbo. Some sites are complying with Subpart XXX and dealing with the duplicate requirements from Subpart WWW and other issues. Several states have approved Cf EG rules, so landfills in those states must begin to comply with those state rules. Several other states have proposed state plan approvals and could see approved EG rules issued soon. When EPA issues the federal plan for the EG, all of the remaining landfills in states without approved state plans will have to start to comply. This will put all NSPS/EG-applicable landfills into the same boat with the existing Subpart XXX sites with all of the problems that will bring.
The Air & Waste Management Association with SCS Engineers presents on-demand sessions include an update on the status of each of the regulations identified here, a description of the remaining areas of uncertainty and confusion, and a summary of the strategy for compliance in use by landfills during this period of limbo.
CERLCA Jurisdiction and PRP Definition
A recent Meyers | Nave publication discusses the Supreme Court’s April 20, 2020 decision in Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian. The firm suggests the decision adds another layer of complexity to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act – CERCLA, liability issue. The decision opens the door for state courts to hear claims that challenge EPA-defined approved clean-ups and has the potential to expand the “potentially responsible party” – PRP class for current “owners” of a “facility.”
The Court’s decision introduces new considerations into CERCLA liability analysis and settlement strategy. The Court’s holding will have many immediate ramifications, including the following:
Clean Water Act Developments
In April, the courts and federal agencies announced major developments significantly affecting regulation under the Clean Water Act – CWA and how the CWA may be applied in the future.
Each of these developments could have far-reaching implications for regulations under the CWA. Assuming the 2020 Rule withstands legal challenges, it is seen as favorable for industry and other regulated entities, while the two judicial decisions are perceived as problematic for such entities. Davis Graham & Stubbs describes each development in more detail in the firm’s recently published article.
MATS Supplemental Cost Finding and Clean Air Act RTR
On April 16, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the 2016 Supplemental Cost Finding for the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards – MATS, for coal- and oil-fired power plants, consistent with a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision. The agency also completed the Clean Air Act-required residual risk and technology review – RTR, for MATS. According to the EPA power plants are already complying with the standards that limit emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), and this final action leaves those emission limits in place and unchanged.
However, with this final action, EPA is not removing coal- and oil-fired power plants from the list of affected source categories for regulation under section 112 of the Clean Air Act, consistent with existing case law. Those power plants remain subject to and must comply with the mercury emissions standards of the MATS rule, which remains fully in effect notwithstanding the revised cost-benefit analysis.
In addition, EPA has completed the required RTR for MATS and determined no changes to the rule are needed to further reduce residual risk. The RTR satisfies the statutory requirements set out by Congress in the Clean Air Act. More information is available on EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards website.
Proposal to Retain NAAQS for Particulate Matter
On April 14, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – EPA announced its proposal to retain, without changes, the National Ambient Air Quality Standards – NAAQS for particulate matter (PM) including both fine particles (PM2.5) and coarse particles (PM10).
According to the EPA because of Clean Air Act programs and efforts by state, local and tribal governments, as well as technological improvements, average PM2.5 concentrations in the U.S. fell by 39 percent between 2000 and 2018 while average PM10 concentrations fell by 31 percent during the same period.
EPA states it is following the principles established to streamline the NAAQS review process and to fulfill the statutory responsibility to complete the NAAQS review within a 5-year timeframe. More information about the rule can be found at EPA’s: National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Particulate Matter (PM) Pollution website.
EPA will accept public comment for 60 days after the proposed standards are published in the Federal Register. EPA plans to issue the final standards by the end of 2020.
U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks Inventory Announcement
The Environmental Protection Agency’s annual report, “Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2018,” provides a comprehensive look at U.S. emissions and removals by source, economic sector, and greenhouse gas – GHG. The gases covered by this inventory include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride. The inventory also calculates carbon dioxide emissions that are removed from the atmosphere by “sinks,” e.g., through the uptake of carbon and storage in forests, vegetation, and soils.
On April 13, 2020, the EPA’s comprehensive annual report on nationwide GHG emissions released to the public. It shows that since 2005, national GHG emissions have fallen by 10%, and power sector emissions have fallen by 27%.
“While there was a small rise in emissions due to weather and increased energy demand from the prior year in this report, based on preliminary data, we expect next year’s report to show that the long-term downward trend will continue,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.
According to the announcement, annual trends are responsive to weather variability and economic conditions. Year-over-year, national GHG emissions were 3% higher in 2018 than the prior year, due to multiple factors, including increased energy consumption from greater heating and cooling needs due to a colder winter and hotter summer in 2018 compared to 2017.
According to environmental and research groups, driving the drop’s long-term downward trend is chiefly due to a shift away from coal power generation. The 2019 drop was driven by a nearly 10 percent fall in emissions from the power sector, the biggest decline in decades [Rhodium Climate Service]. Utilities are closing coal plants in favor of cheaper natural gas and renewable energy.
Emissions from industry rose slightly last year, and are now greater than those from coal-fired power plants, most driven by a strong economy. Emissions from buildings were up, and emissions from other sectors of the economy collectively grew by more. The shift to lower-carbon energy is largely restricted to the electricity sector, and in order to meet international and state goals, state policies continue to target other sectors that collectively make up a majority of U.S. emissions.
More information is available at EPA’s website Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks.
For more information about potential impacts to waste, energy, or manufacturing please contact your nearest SCS Engineer’s office or your Project Manager.
EPA has issued a revised NESHAP standard for municipal solid waste landfills. The new rule reflects EPA’s conclusions regarding the residual risk and technology rule, resolves confusion created when the previous rule was not updated at the same time as the landfill NSPS and updates landfill gas well head criteria for temperature. EPA is also clarifying that the standards are applicable during periods of startup, shutdown and malfunction, and requiring electronic reporting of performance test results.
This action finalizes the residual risk and technology review (RTR) conducted for the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Landfills source category regulated under National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) contained within 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 63, Subpart AAAA. Additionally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking final action to:
The EPA is also finalizing minor changes to the MSW Landfills NSPS and Emission Guidelines (EG) and Compliance Times for MSW Landfills contained within 40 CFR Part 60, Subparts XXX and Cf. Specifically, the EPA is finalizing provisions to the most recent MSW Landfills NSPS and EG that would allow affected sources to demonstrate compliance with landfill gas control, operating, monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements by following the corresponding requirements in the MSW Landfills NESHAP. According to EPA, these final amendments will result in improved compliance and implementation of the rule and eliminate some of the confusion created by the previous version of the EPA rule.
We’ve pulled this information from the Final Amendments to Air Toxics Standards for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills and SCS will publish an SCS Technical Bulletin on our blog and social media sites. Please contact your Project Manager for details specific to your operation.
Approximately 738 MSW landfills are subject to the NESHAP.
On February 25, 2020, EPA finalized amendments to the 2003 NESHAP for MSW Landfills. EPA issued air toxics standards for the MSW Landfills source category in 2003 that established emission limitations based on maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards for hazardous air pollutants (HAP) from major and area sources.
The rule required MSW landfills greater than 2.5 million megagrams (Mg) and 2.5 million cubic meters with uncontrolled emissions greater than 50 Mg/year of non-methane organic compounds (NMOC) to install and operate a gas collection and control system (GCCS). Most emissions from MSW landfills come from the continuous biodegredation of the MSW. Landfill gas contains methane, carbon dioxide and more than 100 different NMOC, including, but not limited to, vinyl chloride, ethyl benzene, benzene and toluene.
Based on the RTR, EPA is finalizing no changes to the existing standards because the agency determined the risks to be acceptable with an ample margin of safety to protect public health and the environment. In addition, EPA did not identify any new cost-effective emission controls for MSW landfills. However, EPA is finalizing several minor amendments to reorganize and streamline requirements for MSW landfills that will improve the clarity, compliance and implementation of the rule. These include:
The Clean Air Act (CAA) requires EPA to regulate toxic air pollutants, also known as air toxics, from categories of industrial facilities in two phases. The first phase is “technology-based,” where EPA develops standards for controlling the emissions of air toxics from sources in an industry group or “source category.” EPA bases these MACT standards on emission levels that are already being achieved by the best-controlled and lower-emitting sources in an industry. Within 8 years of setting the MACT standards, the CAA directs EPA to assess the remaining health risks from each source category to determine whether the MACT standards protect public health with an ample margin of safety and protect against adverse environmental effects. This second phase is a “risk-based” approach called residual risk. Here, EPA must determine whether more health-protective standards are necessary.
Every 8 years after setting MACT standards, the CAA requires EPA to review and revise the standards, if necessary, to account for improvements in air pollution controls and/or prevention and to address any residual risks that still remain after the MACT is implemented.
The CAA requires EPA to assess the risk remaining after application of the final air toxics emission standards; known as a residual risk assessment. Based on the completed risk assessment, available health information, and associated uncertainties, EPA determined risks from the MSW Landfills source category are acceptable and provide an ample margin of safety to protect public health. EPA estimates the maximum individual lifetime cancer risk for inhalation for the source category to be less than 10-in-1 million.
The CAA requires EPA to assess, review and revise air toxics standards, as necessary, taking into account developments in practices, processes and control technologies. The technology review of the standards for MSW Landfills did not identify any developments that would further reduce HAP emissions beyond the original NESHAP.
Download a copy of the final rule notice from EPA’s website at the following address: https://www.epa.gov/stationary-sources-air-pollution/municipal-solid-waste-landfills-national-emission-standards.
SCS will publish an SCS Technical Bulletin on our blog and social media sites. Please contact your Project Manager for details specific to your operation.
SCS Customer Support:
National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Stationary Combustion Turbines Residual Risk and Technology Review 40 CFR Part 63
This action finalizes the residual risk and technology review (RTR) conducted for the Stationary Combustion Turbines source category regulated under national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP). In addition, EPA is taking final action addressing requirements during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM)
and to add electronic reporting requirements.
The EPA is finalizing its proposed determination that the risks from this source category due to emissions of air toxics are acceptable and that the existing NESHAP provides an ample margin of safety to protect public health. The EPA is also finalizing its proposed determination that EPA identified no new cost-effective controls under the technology review that would achieve further emissions reductions from the source category.
This final rule is effective on March 9, 2020. The incorporation by reference (IBR) of certain publications listed in the rule is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of March 9, 2020.
For questions about this final action and electronic reporting requirements, contact:
For specific information regarding the risk modeling methodology, contact Mark Morris, Health and Environmental Impacts Division (C539-02), Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, email address: .
For information about the applicability of the Stationary Combustion Turbines NESHAP to a particular entity, contact Sara Ayres, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, email address: .
The environmental reporting season is just around the corner. Every year Ann O’Brien publishes a table to help you determine your reporting obligations. The table summarizes the most common types of environmental reports due to environmental regulatory agencies in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, along with respective due dates.
The professional engineers and consultants at SCS Engineers can help you navigate the local, state, and federal reporting obligations and permitting for your business, in your region, and in your industry. Contact us at or find a professional like Ann, nearest you.
Ann O’Brien is a Project Manager with SCS Engineers with more than 30 years of experience in the printing industry. Ann’s experience includes air and water quality permitting, environmental recordkeeping, reporting and monitoring programs, hazardous waste management, employee EHS training, environmental compliance audits, and environmental site assessments and due diligence associated with real estate transactions and corporate acquisitions.
EPA announced today a final policy to enhance effective partnerships with states in civil enforcement and compliance assurance work. The memorandum from EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Susan Bodine articulates the final policy procedures and practices for effective coordination between EPA and states when carrying out shared responsibilities under environmental laws.
The final policy memorandum is divided into three sections. The first section details requirements for joint planning and regular communication between EPA and states to promote enhanced, shared accountability. The second section of the policy provides greater detail on EPA and state roles and responsibilities in implementing authorized programs. The third and last section of the policy provides a process for the elevation and resolution of issues.
The issuance of today’s final policy replaces the interim guidance memorandum on enhanced planning and communication between EPA regional offices and states issued by Susan Bodine on January 22, 2018.
Jeffrey Reed, P.E. is now leading SCS Engineers business operations in Texas, including all environmental consulting, landfill, landfill gas, and solid waste business. He commences his responsibilities immediately, under the title Business Unit Director, and is managing the staff and business operations of four offices. His primary office is located in Houston, Texas.
Jeff, a Professional Engineer, licensed in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas has a broad range of environmental expertise. He has provided design and consulting services for projects in 26 states across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Jeff is a Vice President of SCS Engineers and a National Expert on Landfill Design and Construction Quality Assurance for the firm. He has over 30 years of experience working in the solid waste industry. His project experience includes stormwater management, liquids management and leachate control, erosion control, hydrogeological/hydraulic analysis, landfill design and permitting, geosynthetic lining and cover systems, stability analysis, and construction quality assurance. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Solid Waste Association of North America.
Kevin Yard, PE, BCEE, SCS’s former Texas Business Unit Director, will continue to support key projects in Texas while he manages clients nationwide that are investing in new infrastructure and processes compatible with their firms’ environmental climate goals.
“Over his ten+ years with SCS, Jeff has demonstrated his leadership and capabilities resolving complex environmental challenges,” said Kevin Yard. “Jeff provides the standard of quality and services to our clients who rely on SCS to support their business operations while meeting rapidly-changing air, water, and soil compliance standards.”
With the number of LFG monitoring technologies out there, it can be difficult for operators to distinguish which is the best fit. The authors, Pat Sullivan and John Henkelman of Understanding Landfill Gas Monitoring Techniques, do just that, help readers find the approach that works best for their landfill monitoring needs.
Methane can be monitored above the surface of the landfill as a gauge of potential emissions or can be directly measured using techniques that test for the rate or flux of emissions. The above-surface monitoring techniques for gauging potential emissions include surface emission monitoring, ground-based or low-altitude imaging and satellite and aerial imaging.
Landfill methane measurement is the direct measurement of methane emissions from landfills. Direct measurement of methane is more expensive than surface emission monitoring. Four ways to measure landfill methane directly are flux chamber testing, plume measurement, micrometeorological methods, and dispersion modeling.